California is forging ahead with strict climate change goals, despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to ease regulations on many fronts. One area of possible conflict is on auto emissions standards.
The state Air Resources Board recently voted to reaffirm California’s emissions standards for vehicles sold between 2022 and 2025. Right now, federal and state standards are the same, but President Trump last month ordered a review of the federal standards, telling automakers in Detroit he wants to loosen regulations.
KQED’s Brian Watt spoke with Ron Cogan, president of the Green Car Institute in San Luis Obispo, for his perspective on the issue. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation.
Watt: These standards would mean an average of about 54 miles per gallon across all vehicle types. What does that mean the auto industry needs to do?
Cogan: Automakers have to do a lot … That’s a very, very high number for fuel efficiency. It’s not that it can’t be achieved, it’s just going to cost a lot of money to get there and a lot of R&D.
Watt: You say it’s a lot. But the auto industry has had five years to prepare for these standards. They still don’t go into effect for another five years. So what is so hard about doing this for the industry.
Cogan: Cars, for the longest time, were getting 15 miles a gallon, 20 miles a gallon. Then we started seeing cars over 30 miles a gallon. You have hybrids that can get 50 miles a gallon. But most cars cannot. To get to that point, it takes a lot of advanced technology; a lot of advanced Read More …